SYDNEY (Reuters) - The only video of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin being stabbed by a stingray and killed has been handed to his wife Terri to ensure it is never made public, Australian authorities said on Thursday.
The coroner in Australia’s tropical Queensland state, who is examining Irwin’s death last September, said police had released the death footage to Terri Irwin just before Christmas.
All copies of the video tape, which show a stingray barb piercing Irwin’s chest while he was filming a documentary off far north Queensland, had been destroyed to ensure they were never publicly released, said Coroner Michael Barnes.
“The footage has been the subject of widespread media interest and it was wholly appropriate that we took all possible steps to ensure something of such a personal and tragic nature did not fall into the wrong hands,” Barnes said in a statement.
The Australian newspaper quoted Barnes saying police had told him there was a “A$1 million price tag on the tape” and that if it became public would be put on a pay-per-view Web site.
Terri Irwin has said the death footage of her 44-year-old husband would never be released.
The Australian newspaper said the video showed a medium-wide shot of Irwin paddling above a bull ray before it whipped its tail and barb into his chest. Irwin is seen puling the barb out before he begins to lose consciousness.